Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 25, 2013.

Update #11

You want the good news or the bad news first?

68 comments
3 likes

Trick question! It's bad news. Last week, just prior to the close of our Kickstarter campaign, we received a cease and desist letter from Perkins Coie, a big fancy law firm employed by Quinn & Sherry, the publishers of "The Game of THINGS…" They claim that "TERRIBLE THINGS: The Party Game Where Everyone Loses" infringes on their trademark.

We could spend a lot of time picking apart the absurdities in their argument, but in the interest of efficiency, we thought we'd just re-post their letter here. We think the insanity speaks for itself:

Just to make sure we weren't making a mountain out of a molehill, we asked them to clarify their position:

"Jack and I are confused about what the actual infringement consists of, and would greatly appreciate some clarification so that we can best remedy the situation. Is your position that any board game published with "Things" in the title infringes on Quinn & Sherry's trademark?"

Their answer was a simple "Yes.":

"A game with the word THINGS in the title may appear to consumers to be a variation or themed version of the THINGS... game. Thus, a name with THINGS in it is likely to be too close to the THINGS… trademark. Quinn & Sherry has invested significantly in building brand recognition for the THINGS… trademark over the past ten years. We hope we can reach an agreed resolution and avoid formal proceedings. Litigation is costly and time consuming for everyone. However, my client will defend its rights. Having not yet started manufacturing, changing the name of your game at this stage would be the most cost effective. Accordingly, we look forward to your confirmation that you will select a different mark for your game – one that does not include the term THINGS."

And there you have it. Quinn & Sherry is willing to take us to court for DARING to publish a game with the word "things" in the title, because they believe they own that word. The word "things." Seriously.

So here's where we are: this has already pushed back our publishing date, and we don't want a ridiculous legal battle to delay the game any further. So we're changing the name. Starting over is a time and money suck, but this is simply the least bad option available to us. Here was our response:

"In the interest of preventing further delay or cost in publishing our game, we have decided to change the name to a mark that does not include the word "Things." Not because you're right, but because we simply don't have the resources to defend ourselves.

You should be ashamed of yourselves."

We want to be very clear: we think this whole thing is BULLSHIT. We just simply can't afford to deal with it right now. They could bring us to court, try to enjoin Amazon from releasing the campaign funds, or do a million other things that we seriously don't have the time or the money to fight against, and our primary goal is to get this game out there, whatever its name.

Stay classy, everyone.

-Terrible People

paperstarships, Zack Alawan, and 1 more person like this update.

Comments

    1. 1375172_10200768488628711_934775917_n.small

      Creator Marissa Brice on October 12, 2013

      Seems the majority of backers are on board for "Terrible _____" which those litigious jerks can't touch with a ten foot pole, while we all write in "Things" or whatever they please, any updates?

    2. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Jason Fenoglio on October 8, 2013

      I don't see how a court would allow this to be considered trademark infringement. I'm giving some credit here to the USPTO by registering the trademark as "THINGS ..." and it's also confirmed in the image on the listing. In this instance, their argument is invalid to the point that this title does not have the offending " ..." in the title. There is no case yet, just a letter. I would call their bluff, because that, in fact, is what it is.

    3. Zung_creations_logo.small

      Creator Steve Zung on October 8, 2013

      +1 to "The other games sucks"

      +10 to "Terrible _____"

      Maybe you guys can sign a few copies in the blank space on the cover? e.g. "Terrible _Rob_". I think that would be awesome. Also, the blank space in the title will make for great conversation.

    4. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Manny Melo on October 7, 2013

      The new name sounds great. "Terrible ____ "

    5. 320774.small

      Creator Jeremey Zamecnik on October 5, 2013

      New name: "Terrible Lawsuit". Or "The other game sucks"

    6. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Ewen Peter Trafford on October 4, 2013

      I too agree with Harrison! Then we can all post pictures of the boxes to these jokers at Quince & Whoever with Terrible and 'things' hand drawn by us!

    7. 1375172_10200768488628711_934775917_n.small

      Creator Marissa Brice on October 2, 2013

      I actually really like what Harrison suggests!!

      We ALL know the name of the game is Terrible Things, so just leave it on the box titled "Terrible ____ " and we'll all just fill it in appropriately in sharpie with the word "Things", and continue to refer to the game as it was intended! ^_^

      You guys can then argue anyone can fill in the blank with any word so it Could Be "Terrible" anything theoretically and they can't sue over the POSSIBILITY that game owner will choose to fill in the blank with the word "things" or some other random word.

      I just hate the idea of changing the name to something else both because I like the name Terrible Things, and on the principle that it's insanity to claim rights over such a ubiquitous and ambiguous word!

    8. V3arz.small

      Creator Harrison Allen Palmquist on October 2, 2013

      You know what? i just thought of this.. I think the name should be Terrible "________" It avoids conflict and we can all laugh in their faces when we all get the game, then use a Sharpie to write in "Things" on the box. That's what i think I'll do.

    9. Missing_small

      Creator Melissa Gianopoulos on October 2, 2013

      Such a Thing is a card game. You can't copyright the word "thing".

    10. V3arz.small

      Creator Harrison Allen Palmquist on October 2, 2013

      Welp.. if a re-name of the game is something that's happening, i guess throwing some suggestions couldn't hurt, i was thinking perhaps instead of using "things" as the general term, maybe changing it into into something like an "event"?? Like Terrible "Happenings.. Events.. Affairs... Developments" Something like that maybe?? No idea if any of those god damn words are copyrighted though. Anyways just throwing out new name suggestions.

    11. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Jayson Barrand on October 2, 2013

      Upset as you may be (I am as well) with...that OTHER game, fellow backers...I've read the comments on their site as well as their Facebook and their Twitter and personally, it's not worth it. Everyone knows, or should know, it always comes down to the fine print in today's society and their ink dried first. Like I said, I don't like that this happened anymore than any of you but, in my personal belief, in the interest of Terrible People LLC and us who so, so want this game...we need to just simply move on from here. Ideally, we can be grateful that it's only the name that is at issue (but that's perhaps too optimistic).

      As for a new name, unless the makers have a back-up name lined up, I agree with Andy Spoor they should conduct a quick poll for a new name voted for by backers.

    12. Missing_small

      Creator Felderburg on October 2, 2013

      Also, I like Anthony's suggestion: drop the 's', make it "A Terrible Thing." They very explicitly said it was "things" that was the issue, not the singular.

    13. Missing_small

      Creator Felderburg on October 2, 2013

      On the one hand, any company does have to defend its trademarks, even in cases like this, or they risk losing it. On the other hand, they would probably lose a court case. Given that this Kickstarter was successful, you could probably run another one for any potential court costs.

      It's also worth noting that there's a Parker Brothers edition of the game. I wonder if they have any part in this C&D?

    14. 59771_10151418252404395_1546395106_n.small

      Creator Deze man on October 2, 2013

      And no wonder this world is crazy... A similar affair happened with a friend of mine who was running an event management company- far from a company which runs a 'sauce' making business. He was given a letter like this to change the name,because this was causing an effect on their market. (for the sauce). Patent laws are sometimes very skewed.. and small ventures usually pay the price for that.
      Thanks for keeping us updated and also informing us about the possible 'terrible thing' that's gonna happen (i mean in a good way for the change of name)

    15. Missing_small

      Creator Richard Staats on October 2, 2013

      OK, I was not going to make a big deal about this, but I copyrighted the letter "t" some time ago. I believe that not only your terrible game, but your updates have walked all over my copyright! No, just kidding ...

    16. Tattoo.small

      Creator Shan Morris on October 2, 2013

      I believe you should dedicate the new name of your game after these fine folks.
      "Dedicated to the Truly Terrible people in the world, Like Quinn & Sherry"
      Hell, that could be your subtitle. Or "Qu!nn & $herry" if need be.

    17. Missing_small

      Creator Brian Hale on October 2, 2013

      Okay how about "like the game of things, but with actual imagination and balls" game...

    18. Missing_small

      Creator Rupert Vidion on October 2, 2013

      How on this green and pleasant Earth can you trademark "THINGS..."? That's just absurd and obviously malicious. You're only using the "THINGS" bit, does this mean they'll start sending Cease and Desist letters to anyone who suffixes a game's title with "..."?

    19. Spawn-sinister-evil-fight.small

      Creator Crimson Angelus on October 1, 2013

      So, is there a new target date for receiving the game? I am assuming that since the update only reflects bad news that it will no longer be in time for Christmas... :'(

    20. Missing_small

      Creator Justin Williams on October 1, 2013

      Terrible T. hings

    21. Missing_small

      Creator Andrew Oppenheimer on October 1, 2013

      It's horse-shit. The case would get thrown out of court based solely on intent. But it would suck too much from Terrible People's wallet to get it to that point. While I don't think any new name would be a better one than Terrible Things (especially marketing-wise), a different name wouldn't make the game any less amazing. However, if there isn't at least one card dedicated to these jerk-offs, I'll be disappointed. Even if it's just in the Kickstarter pack.

      I don't care that they took a generic drinking game and made it family friendly. That's like someone trying to lay claim to intellectual property whenever anyone plays a Werewolf/Mafia game. I care that they took one of the 100 most commonly used words in the English language and are trying to claim exclusive dominion over its use.

      Once this game is in people's hands, we need to spread it as much as we can. Sell a couple million copies. Win.

    22. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Chad Ryg on October 1, 2013

      Don't miss the blessing here! Put out a press release and see if any news wants to bite and ride the free exposure!

    23. Brandon-with-giraffe-2-for-kick.small

      Creator Brandon Raasch on October 1, 2013

      I have seen the box in Target, and now I wouldn't buy it on principle.

      Sorry you have to rename and you guys rock for sharing their selfish move...

    24. Missing_small

      Creator Justin Walsh on October 1, 2013

      I think this may just be worthy of a crowd-sourced attempt to invalidate that Trademark with the USPTO. Are there any goodwill lawyers among us who'd be willing to organize the charge?

      It's an insanely broad trademark that apparently covers "parlor games and card games" (the "board games" target was deleted), so it shouldn't be too difficult to find prior art. I'd think it could be argued that any game which uses cards as one of the primary methods of gameplay is a card game.

      A quick search of BoardGameGeek provides a multitude of games with "Things" in the title which came before that 2002 filing with the USPTO, could be somewhere to start.

      >Funny Things Happen (1930)
      >http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/26761/funny-things-happen

      >Dinosaurs and Things (1986)
      >http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/9956/dinosaurs-and-things

      >Kings & Things (1986)
      >http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/58/kings-things

      >Shape Of Things (1989)
      >http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/25867/shape-of-things

      >Hordes Of The Things (1991)
      >http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/5369/hordes-of-the-things

      >Things In My House (1993)
      >http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/10369/things-in-my-house

      USPTO Record: http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=76357538&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch

    25. Andreabio.small

      Creator Andrea C. Zimmerman on October 1, 2013

      Never heard of their game but certainly not buying it now. Thank you for the transparency. I echo your sympathies and support this whatever the name. Sorry for you to deal with the mess!

    26. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Anthony Wright on October 1, 2013

      Here's something I find hilarious:

      Who here has ever, EVER heard of "A Game of Things"?

      No one? Yeah... That's what I thought.

      Rename the game of "A Terrible Thing" and tell Quinn & Sherry to fuck off. :3

    27. 4836_112098068658_2185754_n.small

      Creator Bill Gimbel on October 1, 2013

      However unfortunate, it is probably best to change the name, move on, and let the usual lawyer backed idiots "win"... (As far as generic words being trademarked, there probably isn't a simpler example than "Word" - as in the MS computer program of course...) If there is going to be a vote, then lest pick the worst, not the best - that would seem more in spirit of this venture!

    28. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Alex Levi on October 1, 2013

      My vote for the new game is, "Terrible Thingz: Suck a dick Quinn & Sherry."

    29. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Andy Spoor on October 1, 2013

      what about a poll of names we kickstarters choose? ask for suggestions, pick the best ones, and let it ride!

    30. Profile.small

      Creator Jason Kotzur-Yang on October 1, 2013

      My background in product development tells me that there's two things you have to be concerned about re: name. The first is passing off, which would means that TERRIBLE THINGS would be trying to fool consumers that their game is related to A Game of Things.... The onus being on A Game of Things... to prove that, and the difference between the two is very obvious and there's clearly no attempt by TERRIBLE THINGS to create an association, so there's no passing off (even if the lawyers would like to imply there is). Two is trademark infringement, this is a bit more tricky as they've been granted that trademark but I understand that it could be challenged, most trademarks are granted without too much fuss, but that doesn't mean the trademark is legitimate. Apple tried to convince everyone they owned pictures of apples but that didn't hold up, so A Game of Things... probably don't own the word things. TERRIBLE THINGS may be in the right, but it'll take time and money to make the decision a legal certainty. (That's my understanding from what people more versed in these things have told me)

    31. 320774.small

      Creator Jeremey Zamecnik on October 1, 2013

      Update on my comment: my girlfriend suggested a better title. Since its not a family friendly game, make it known that its not a family friendly game. Rename it to Terrible Shit. And call it a day.

    32. 320774.small

      Creator Jeremey Zamecnik on October 1, 2013

      In all rationality, This is bullshit. Like Marissa Brice says, " we all backed 'Terrible Things' not 'Terrible Stuff' or 'Terrible T****s'. They're threatening you for the use of the word THINGS. I don't see a real justifiable stand point for just the word "Things". Their game, for christs sake (pardon those religious folks), is called "A Game of Things". Terrible People are creating a game called "Terrible Things" and in every which way you look at this game, it is CLEARLY NOT APPROPRIATE for ANYONE whom IS NOT an adult. It's hard to really justify that game as being REMOTELY CLOSE to Terrible Things. I'd like to see some intricate detail in regards to this. Pull out some cards from Terrible things and compare it to A Game of Things. Oh and lets not forget that there are some intelligent people that do exist in the world whom will read the box and realize that "hey, this is not intended for young people." I really want to bring this to my attorney and ask him if this is justifiable on that law firm. I have no law background, but that's ridiculous.

      And yes, I do like the use of the Shift/Caps lock key. Influences emphasis.

    33. Missing_small

      Creator clapdady on October 1, 2013

      That's unfortunate but I agree it's not worth getting into a legal battle. Ali Spagnola had a similar situation with the phrase "power hour" and spent over 30 grand defending herself. Saw a comment about "you should be ashamed of yourselves" as the game name, I'd be ok with that. "Terrible souls" was also a good one. No matter what it's called when my friends and I play it we're going to call it F*** Quinn & Sherry.

      Have a terrible day.

    34. 537184_10153057083435184_622562363_n.small

      Creator Brian Aikin on October 1, 2013

      "We want to be very clear: we think this whole thing is BULLSHIT."

      There's your new title: BULLSHIT

    35. Profile.small

      Creator Jason Kotzur-Yang on October 1, 2013

      The title on Board Game Geek seems to be "the game of things..." on the box, but they conveniently trademarked Things instead, presumably to let them do the very thing they are doing, which I'd say is more horrible than terrible.

    36. 1375172_10200768488628711_934775917_n.small

      Creator Marissa Brice on October 1, 2013

      The creators could not be in trouble for sharing with backers information that is delaying production, in fact, kickstarter REQUIRES them to do it! So if THINGS feels like suing over hate mail next they'll just have to buckle up and get ready for the tirade!! They did this to avoid "confusion" - and instead have created a PR nightmare for themselves which I fully intend to make them aware of.

      Just so lame, we all backed "Terrible Things" not "Terrible Stuff" of "Terrible T*****s" and now some crappier game I've never even heard of claims eternal dibs in the word "things"?! Yeah...sounds...fair...

    37. Missing_small

      Creator jason mitchell on October 1, 2013

      How about keep the name but put a black or white censored bar over "things". Or change it to "T****S:" People could have fun guessing what the stared letters were too! Either of those hopefully would be a cheaper/quicker fix rather than a complete redesign.

    38. Missing_small

      Creator Alaia on October 1, 2013

      I vote for TERRIBLE SOULS or something like that - Don't give up, this is America!

    39. Avatar.small

      Creator Anthony Jones on October 1, 2013

      I agree with Chase Hansel. "You should be ashamed of yourselves" would be a good title for this game!

    40. Missing_small

      Creator Matthew Fournel on October 1, 2013

      Makes sense, things don't belong to anyone but Quinn & Sherry. I never use things or say things or do things.

    41. Missing_small

      Creator Justin Williams on October 1, 2013

      I wish a never ending pox upon those people.

    42. Gugameslogoshieldoutlined250.small

      Creator GU Games on October 1, 2013

      @Anthony Jones
      Purely a coincidence, I assure you.
      Also, we own the copyright to the word "coincidence".

    43. Avatar.small

      Creator Anthony Jones on October 1, 2013

      Interesting that they waited until you had funding before taking action against you... they could smell the money!

    44. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Philip Hurwitz on October 1, 2013

      Adeene, I am merely making people aware of where they can voice their opinion about the game of things.

    45. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Sheena Pick on October 1, 2013

      I feel like this absurd situation should be made known on a certain public forum that portrays itself as the front page of the internet.

      I'm glad that you, Terrible People, have decided to just go ahead and release your amazing game with a different title. I'm sure you will create a title of equal awesomeness and I will continue to sing your praises. Also, once released, I recommend HIGHLY that a version of your game be made available to the Reddit Marketplace as a game like this would be extremely popular for next year's Board Game Exchange. If you don't know what I am talking about, go to redditgifts dot com.

      Keep fighting the terrible fight!

    46. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Tyler James Raymond on October 1, 2013

      What I'm trying to say is, sorry guys! That sucks.

    47. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Tyler James Raymond on October 1, 2013

      Those detestable self-righteous individuals. I hope they're fucked out of every orifice in their body by burning pokers and made to scream in agony in front of their children. Their digits should be sheared off, one by one, and cauterized; then their limbs, then their eyes, then their organs should be ripped out with rusty equipment and stuffed up their asses. Their testicles should be pierced ten thousand times with thin metal needles until they fall off and whatever remains of these entitled pricks should be dropped one hundred feet into a basement filled with salt, where they will stay for all eternity to rot with their faces contorted in agony.

    48. Missing_small

      Creator chase hansel on October 1, 2013

      "You should be ashamed of yourselves" is actually a pretty good title for the game. Change it to that!

    49. 9azuph.small

      Creator Adeene on October 1, 2013

      Hey all, I would be careful about leaving the links to THINGS here because you could get Terrible People in more trouble. Especially if a delightful bunch of you sends certain statements in hate mail. It happened with The Oatmeal. :/ This is a stupid thing. We shouldn't be able to copyright certain words... only an entire phrase. So Game of Things could be trademarked but not just Things itself.

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